tv President Obama Remarks in Milwaukee Wisconsin CSPAN March 4, 2016 3:07am-3:41am EST
studies live at 10:00 a.m. eastern on c-span 2. the american conservative union hosts its annual conservative political action conference. our three-day cpac coverage continues live friday afternoon at 1:15 eastern with speeches by republican presidential candidates, john kasich and ted cruz. also, dr. ben carson. then on saturday morning at 10:00, our coverage continues with donald trump and live at 11:35 a.m. eastern with florida senator marco rubio. we will also bring you the results of the 2016 cpac straw poll. for our complete schedule, go to cspan.org. president obama was in milwaukee thursday to promote his health care law. he said 20 million people have gained coverage since he signed it back in 2010. the president was introduced by a wisconsin resident who credits
the health care law with saving his life after being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. this is half an hour. >> good afternoon. my name is brent brown. in june i wrote the president a letter about my story but it is so much more than some kid, and my story is not mine alone. i am here to represent those who do not have a voice, the people who i met during my many hospital stays, your family member who has cancer, our neighbor who can't afford his medications, all those who, without the affordable care act, would not be able to deal with
their health problems. while the details will be different, this is also their story. it is our story. while attending college i was diagnosed with a serious autoimmune disease. devastation. now labeled with a pre-existing condition, i am disqualified from any and all health insurance options. more devastation. i feel, i watch my body tearing itself apart but i don't go to the hospital until i can barely move. it costs too much. after numerous hospital stays, i eventually drain all of my savings. bankrupt. i cannot afford the surgeries i need to save my life. literally a dead man walking, hope gone. but then this guy signs this bill and now i have access to
health insurance and i receive the care that i so desperately need. over the last several months -- [ applause ] thank you. over the last several months and several surgeries later, i can now say i had a serious autoimmune disease. [ cheers and applause ] you are too kind. the affordable care act saved my life. i want to repeat that. the affordable care act saved my life. to be clear, i have never voted for president obama, ever. i am a republican who cursed his name, who falsely accused him and someone who zealously worked to ensure that he would never be
my president. but thanks to his fortitude, thanks to his unwavering vision of mercy, even towards me, this chump gets a second shot at life. and to the republicans who wish to repeal the affordable care act, i plead with you to reconsider. swallow your pride as i am doing right now in front of what i assume are many democrats, and do what is right, do what is right for the people. and i ask you that because i was worth saving. we are worth saving.
with that, it is my great pleasure and honor to present to you the man that saved my life and the president of this great united states of america, barack obama. [ cheers and applause ] >> hey! hello, milwaukee! it's good to be back in the midwest. how's everybody doing today? you look great. and it's a balmy 25 degrees. the last time i was here was -- i'm sorry. what?
oh, you were just saying my name. okay. i thought somebody got sick or something. the last -- if you have a sat, go ahead and sit down. i'm going to be here for awhile. the last time i was here was for labor fest a couple years back. next time i think i should come for summer fest. i hear it's pretty fun. it's okay? there are some people i want to acknowledge who are here today. first of all, your outstanding mayor tom barrett is here. county executive chris abley is here. your congresswoman moore is in the house.
thank you to everyone at the united community center for hosting us here today. and as a special treat, your own milwaukee bucks are in the house. these are some fine young men and i told them that as long as they weren't playing the bulls, i'd root for them. but i want to say how much i appreciate brett for sharing his story. please give him a big round of applause. when i received his letter, it made a powerful impact for me, because it was so honest about the fact that he wasn't a supporter of mine which is okay. i just bought him lunch and i
think maybe -- of course i'm term limited so there's not much i can do now to get a vote but we hugged it out. but for him to be able to express not only what he's going through personally but also reflect on what that means for the rest of the country and the rest of wisconsin is extraordinary. we agree, brett and i, that the affordable care act is helping a whole lot of people like him. he is why we fought so hard to fix a broken health care system in the first place. it wasn't about democrats or republicans, it was about our values as americans and making sure that hard-working americans like him are no longer locked out of health insurance through no fault of their own. it was about the basic idea that in america, health care is not a privilege reserved for the few,
but should be a right for all people. in the six years since i signed the affordable care act into law, millions of people have bought affordable health insurance and many of those bought it for the first time. last summer, we learned that for the first time ever, america's uninsured rate has fallen below 10%. so this is the lowest rate of uninsured that we have seen since we started keeping these records. but we know that there are millions more who are eligible for coverage but haven't gotten it yet. and that's understandable. when you're going about your day to day life going to work, taking care of your kids, you're not paying attention to enrollment deadlines. a lot of people still don't know
that most consumers can get covered for less than $100 a month, less than your cell phone bill or your cable bill. and obviously, there's been a lot of political noise surrounding the affordable care act so people haven't always known what's true and what's not. so here's what we did. we started a competition between 20 communities across america from philadelphia to long beach, from atlanta to denver, to see which city could get more of its uninsured neighbors to get covered. and i have to say that the folks who worked on this came up with some pretty clever ways to sign people up. in seattle, folks held health care happy hours. that's a pretty good trick right there. in nashville, they focused on music festivals. new orleans created a challenge between barber shops and beauty
salons. oakland set up a health care storefront at city hall for folks to visit and shop in. i'm pretty proud of my on hometown, chicago, outperformed every other competitor except one. except one. milwaukee came out on top. you get bragging rights this year. baker city may have gotten more folks covered overall but proportionally relative to your size, you won out. all told, counting new folks and people renewing their coverage, you got nearly 90,000 people to sign up. that's enough to fill lambeau field, still have a big tailgating party with a lot of folks outside. and those tailgaters wouldn't
have to worry because obamacare covers indigestion from too many brats. they would be covered. so this city should be proud. you did the best job of looking out for each other and taking care of each other. and i'm here to say congratulations. and what's remarkable is you did it by working together. elected officials, hospitals, clinics, insurers, faith leaders, community leaders, businesses, nonprofits, everybody stepped up as a team. and you guys tried everything. mayor barrett was out there handing flyers out himself. stuck flyers to people's water bills. opened up libraries for enrollment events. set up a partnership with uber to give folks a ride. covered buses and signs reminding people to sign up. free clinics and health centers helped low income residents enroll.
independent insurance agents, even volunteered their time to help people choose the best option for them and their families. and some folks were skeptical that insurance was just too expensive so health care navigators used a cost calculator to help people figure out the most affordable plans. you worked with tv stations to set up phone banks where viewers could call in and volunteers would help them sign up for coverage. turns out they got a lot of calls from moms who wanted to sign up their young adult sons which all of y'all listen to your mom. she knows what's going on. and let's face it, men are just stupid sometimes. don't go to a doctor, don't get checkups, you know. and bus some minority communities were less likely to sign up, the county worked with black health care coalition to
reach out to african-americans, target -- they targeted the latino organizations with cultural appropriate materials, ran ads on spanish language radio, made sure folks with disabilities had the information they needed to sign up. so the story to be told is one of just looking out for each other, just helping each other. this has been an incredible city and county-wide effort. not just in this competition but for years. you have made milwaukee a model for the nation. and you're proof that the affordable care act works. here's another piece of proof. today i can announce that thanks to the law 20 million more americans now know the security of health insurance. 20 million. 20 million people. 20 million folks like brent. that includes six million young people who were less likely to
be insured before the affordable care act. as many as 129 million americans with pre-existing conditions can no longer be charged more or denied coverage just because they have been sick. almost 140 million americans who already have private insurance so they didn't need to sign up for obamacare, they are now guaranteed free preventive care as well and checkups, mammograms. you are getting more for what you're paying for. so your insurance is better than it was. even if you don't know it. even if you didn't vote for me. thanks, obama. that's okay.
you got an upgrade. and contrary to claims that this law would be a job killer, since i signed it, we have seen steady economic recovery. our businesses have created jobs every single month starting the month i signed the aca into law. every month. 71 straight months, 14 million new jobs, unemployment cut from 10% to 4.9%. every month. and because the law fills the gaps in employer-based care we know that when we change jobs or lose a job or go back to school or start that new business, we can still get coverage. the point was not to replace the coverage that people had if they had a great job and had great benefits. the idea was things happen. you lose a job, you are going to find another one. but in the meantime you don't
want to lose your house. somebody in your family gets sick unexpectedly, you want to make sure they are getting the best of care. that's what insurance is. the affordable care act is saving lives, not just for folks like brent but also because the law is encouraging hospitals to focus on quality of care. one of the -- these are the kinds of things that they don't make headlines but since we signed this law, we have seen a big drop in folks getting infections in hospital and other improvements in hospital care. that leads to some 87,000 fewer deaths and $20 billion in cost savings. and the affordable care act is saving money. most folks shopping in the new marketplace have discovered that they can buy a plan for less than $75 a month. last year, 90,000 wisconsin seniors on medicare saved an average of more than $1,000 on
their prescription drugs thanks to the affordable care act. and we have been moving medicare toward a payment model that rewards quality of care over quantity of care and this means we want doctors and hospitals to focus on giving folks the right tests and the right treatment, not just trying to sell more tests and sell more treatments. and that delivers better outcomes. we have just learned we have already hit our initial goal of getting 30% of medicare payments into this new model and it's better for patients. so the affordable care act, aka obamacare, it's saving lives and it's saving money and we have done all this while creating millions of new jobs. we have cut our deficits by almost 75%. the act itself has cost less
than the original projections and meantime, health care price inflation is at its lowest level in 50 years. so even if you aren't covered by obamacare, your premiums or your employer's premiums or your share of premiums have increased at a slower rate over these last three years than they have in the previous 50 which doesn't mean that you're not still seeing some increases and you may not be happy about that but understand that we have actually significantly reduced the pace at which it was going up. and look, you wouldn't know any of this if you listened to the politicians on the other side out there about this who are obsessed with repealing this law. to them, the facts i just mentioned don't matter because this is an issue of ideology. this has to do with we are just
against it. facts, evidence don't comport with their conviction that the aca means an end to the american way. and repeal has been a rallying cry. and they say they want it replaced but they still haven't come up with a replacement. partly because we designed this plan with the help of a bunch of republican thinkers including the then governor of massachusetts, this is the plan that they signed into law there. congressional republicans have tried and failed to repeal or undermine it about 60 times. they have told you what they would replace it with about zero times. they sure won't tell you what would happen if they actually
did repeal it. if they got their way, 20 million people will have their insurance taken away from them. 20 million people. and by the way, milwaukee, while you worked your tails off to cover enough folks to fill lambeau field, your governor still refuses to expand medicaid in this state and we could cover another 21,000 wisconsinites with a stroke of his pen. he could join 31 other governors who are taking this option. which by the way, actually would save money. he's denying wisconsinites their ticket to health insurance and it's political. your senior senator won't tell you that if he gets his way and repeals obamacare, millions of working families would see their insurance premiums spike. the leader of the republicans in congress who lives just south of here won't tell thaw if he got his way and repeals obamacare, millions of women would go back
to paying higher premiums just because they're women. millions of seniors would see the price of prescription drugs shoot up. now, they will tell you no, those are the good parts, we would keep those. well, if you add it all up, that's the affordable care act, why are you trying to repeal it? what is it exactly that you're trying to repeal? this is an important point. see, people don't know that for example, kids being covered until they're 26 or making sure that you can't be discriminated against because of a pre-existing condition or making sure that women aren't being discriminated against when it comes to health insurance, or free preventive care or seniors getting reduced prices on prescription drugs, they don't know necessarily that those things are part of this law. so when you ask republicans about these things, they will say well, yeah, those are okay.
we just want to repeal the other parts. as i said, when you add it up, that's the law. why do you want to repeal it? we can't let that happen. it has been six years since i signed the affordable care act into law. this is no longer just about a law, it's not about me, it's not about politics. this is about the reality that somebody like brent goes through. i get letters every day and people describe to me what it meant for them to have health care coverage. now, if you're healthy at the moment you may not think about it. but at some point each of us goes through times where things don't work out that great and you got to have a backup plan. once you get out of washington, most americans support the reality that they don't want people not having coverage.
the vast majority of folks like their coverage. the vast majority of folks are satisfied with their choices of doctors and hospitals, people like what we have done. the people who are actually using it, not just the people who are hearing about it on fox news, i'm talking about people who are actually using it. for all the years of political fighting, all the repeal votes, all the prediction of apocalypse, the reality is that real people are finally getting insurance and having a bridge to stay insured as they go through various changes in their lives. that's taking place in places like this, in milwaukee. real communities looking out for each other. now we are going to keep working to make health care work even better. there are things that i would love to work with the republicans on in the closing months of my presidency to fine tune this thing and identify ways that we could improve quality even more and reduce prices even more. we could certainly get more
folks covered who are currently being left out. we've got to keep working to get governors and state legislators to expand medicaid and cake care of their citizens. we have to keep working to make prescription drugs more affordable. milwaukee, you have proved that what americans care about most is not scoring political points, it's looking after each other. you made a difference in people's lives. we're not going backwards. we're not going to go back to a time when people could be denied because of pre-existing conditions. it's not who we are. that's who we were, that's not who we are now. americans know that. earlier today, i had lunch at the engine company with brent and a few others who had written me letters. i get ten letters every night. i read them. it keeps me connected to people i serve on a day to day basis.
one person who wrote me was a woman named karen george. a few years ago while karen was finishing her law degree, her husband was laid off for the section time in six years. first time they lost their health insurance, they had no choice but to get on what's called cobra, but as you know, that's a really expensive transition plan and they could barely afford it. this time they had the affordable care act on their side. by dinner time, karen had signed up her family for an affordable plan in the new health insurance marketplace so she knew they were safe, they were protected, they were covered. and karen said in her letter, she said when something like a layoff happens you face a collection of moments of panic. to have one of those moments of panic to go away was something. our health care was there when we needed it. soon after that came another moment of panic just one week after graduating law school, karen experienced chest pains, ended up in the er with what turned out to be a heart problem.
without this plan, she wrote, i probably would have tried to take a nap and wait for the pain away. but instead karen got the care she needed and karen's kid have their mom. that's because of your efforts. because of you america's moving closer than they were. to where every american family has that peace of mind. so we have more work to do, but you've shown us when ordinary citizens come together as one family and one community and roll up our sleeves and look out for one another, that's when change happens. that's when we're at our best. that's how we're going to keep building a country that lives up to its highest ideals. i could not be prouder. congratulations. god bless you, milwaukee. god bless these united states of america. good luck, milwaukee bucs. love you guys.
>> this week, american astronaut scott kelly returned to earth after 342 days on the space station. several spags organizations will talk about the need for increased investment in space exploration. we'll take you there live at 10:00 a.m. eastern on c-span3. >> this year, c-span student cam competition was within of our biggest yet as students competed for over $100,000 in prizes. students produced documentaries using our road to the white house theme answer the questions, what issues do they most want the candidates to discuss during the 2016
presidential campaign. the students told us economy, equality, education and immigration were all the top issues. be sure to tune in this wednesday morning at 8:00 eastern during washington journal when we'll announce the grand prize winner, our first place winners and the fan favorites selected by the public. watch live on c-span and cspan.org. >> federal communications commission chair tom wheeler and the rest of the commissioners were on capitol hill for a senate commerce committee hearing. they answered questions on the spectrum auction and broadband access in rural areas. this is just under two hours and 45 minutes. >> welcome to today's hearing on oversight of the federal communications commission. during our oversight hearing last march, i expressed my amazement that an agency as important as the federal communications commission has not been